My Undocumented Mom

By Fatima Romero  |   From : Pacoima, CA, USA  |   School : Social Justice Humanitas Academy

Summer of 2017. I was 13 at the time and I remember my grandmother from my mother’s side flying in from Michoacan, Mexico to take care of my siblings and I. My mother and my father were going to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico in order for my mother to take her immigration interview. This interview would determine if she would become a resident or not. She had to leave a few weeks before her appointment in order to finalize getting certain documents and getting her fingerprints and medical exam.


My mother has been in the United States for more than 20 years. She was born and raised in La Piedad, Michoacan, Mexico. She has never been arrested or done any type of illegal action. She had my two oldest brothers with her husband at the time, before she married my father and had my youngest brother and I. My father is a citizen of the United States, so my mother was able to start the process of applying for a green card (officially known as Permanent Resident Card). My mother had been going through this process for about 3 years and it took a lot of money, time, and patience.


I remember calling my mother every day and asking her how she was. Our calls would be short because the service was really bad. She would tell me how she stayed in a one room home with my dad and her father. They would get locked in the house at night by the man who owned the house they were renting. Every day they would walk to a little market and get beans, eggs, tortillas, and cup of noodles because that was all they were able to eat. They had one television in the room where they were able to find a way of entertainment.


It was my mom’s first time back in Mexico since she crossed the border. Before her interview, she had to stop at Michoacan to pick up paperwork she would need. Once she was there, she was able to reunite with her siblings and family. Some of these people she had not seen since she was 17. Sadly, she was only there for about three days before having to head back to Juarez.

The day of the interview came and I remember being at my house all day waiting next to the phone. My grandma praying and praying all day and hoping my mom would get approved. It felt like I was waiting forever and the anticipation was eating me alive. My grandmother finally got the phone call. My dad had called to inform us that my mom had finished the interview and gotten approved. All the stress and paper work was worth it.


It has now almost been two years since my mother received her residence. Since then, we have travelled to La Piedad, Michoacan, Mexico as a family. We were there for the holidays and I was able to meet a lot of my mother and fathers’ family. I was also able to see where my parents grew up and learn a lot about them and the culture.

As a daughter, I can say that I am proud of my parents for everything that they go through in order to keep my family together. Seeing them go through challenges makes me want to work hard so that I can make them proud. I know that the reason they push through everything is for my life to be easier. No matter what they never give up.


In the end, hard work pays off.

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